A good night's sleep on top of finding out that nobody was going to come after them made the rest Dean got much better than he had dared hope for. The fact that he woke up before Sam startled him at first, but eventually he realized that Sam had been through a couple of grueling days and was finally beginning to get back to normal.

With a light smirk, Dean decided to get up and get moving. He figured it was his turn to get breakfast, so he showered, got dressed and was out the door before Sam even stirred.

He got in the car and drove the short distance to the next, slightly bigger town where he found a diner that actually had above average coffee and a wide selection of breakfast items that made his mouth water. He bought more than necessary and headed back to the motel, intent on spoiling his little bother a little. The kid really needed to kick back and relax right now and Dean figured they could stay in Grand View for a few days before they moved on to South Dakota.

By the time he got back, Sam was up and dressed and looked way better than he had in the last few days.

"I hope you're hungry," he said with a smirk and set his purchases down on the table by the window.

"Well ... yeah," Sam said and absentmindedly rubbed his left upper arm.

Dean frowned, then registered that the room was pretty damned chilly. "Dude, what is wrong with this place? Not only is it ugly as sin, it's also colder than Hell," he exclaimed.

"I've noticed," Sam agreed. "It has cold spots," he added. "I think this place is haunted or something."

"Nice. Of all the places we could have gone to, we have to find the one that's haunted," Dean growled and reconsidered staying for a moment. "I know this place is an eyesore, but I need a break from all the driving," he said and dropped down on the chair. "Hell, I just need a break," he corrected himself. "So I say we stay here for a day or two, just rest up, and then go on to Bobby's. Even if the Feds aren't on our case about this latest joyride, I still think it might be an idea to take a time-out."

"Sounds like a plan," Sam said and sat down on the other chair. "What'd you get?"

Dean eyed the bags. "A little bit of everything," he countered with a grin. "Dig in."

***

The rest of the day passed with nothing much happening. Dean decided to check out the town just to get out for a bit and Sam dedicated a couple of hours to research to keep his mind off things he didn't want to think about. When the text on the screen started to blur, he decided to drop the research and stretched out on his bed. The chill in the room was still present even though it was fairly warm outside and even Dean's ingenious idea to leave the door open didn't do much. But Sam didn't care that much. If there was a ghost around creating the cold spot, which basically encompassed the entire cabin, bathroom included, then it wasn't doing much else and as ghosts went, that had to be one benevolent spirit.

Without really intending to, he fell asleep and woke up again when Dean made a rather noisy entrance. "Dammit," Dean growled and stooped over to pick up what he had dropped.

Sam propped himself up on his elbows and stared over at the door for a moment, then realized that it was dark outside. "Dude, how long were you gone?" he asked and sat up.

"I didn't check the time," Dean growled and straightened up again with a box in one hand and a stack of what looked like cds in the other.

Sam eyed him for a moment. "What is that?" he asked.

Dean made a face and kicked the door shut, then stepped around the half-wall and deposited everything in his duffle. "I'm tired of you bitching about my cassette collection," he said. "So I bought a frigging cd-player for the car."

Sam pulled his legs over the edge of the bed. "You bought a cd-player?" he asked. "Bought? As in paid for it?"

Dean gave him a brief look. "Well ... yeah. That's what normal people do, isn't it?"

With a light sigh, Sam pushed all ten fingers through his hair, pushing it back from his brow, then slowly got up. "I guess," he agreed and wondered what this was all about. He would have sworn that his brother would never get with the times and upgrade that piece of junk. "So, what cds did you get?"

"Just some of the stuff I've already got on tape," Dean countered and flopped down on one chair by the window. "Man, this place is a damned meat locker," he added. "If this is caused by a ghost, it's the most persistent ghost I've ever come across."

"Yeah, it is kinda chilly in here. Maybe we should ... you know ... move on?" Sam suggested. He had barely said the words before the temperatures in the room dropped further.

"What the hell?" Dean exclaimed and rose again. "Man, that's enough. Get your stuff. We're leaving," he added and stepped forward to grab his duffle. But he didn't get that far. Something hit him and threw him backwards, making him collide with the table rather hard. "Son of a bitch," he snapped and grunted.

Sam made a face and glanced around, trying to locate where this ghost might be, but couldn't see anything. "Dean, are you okay?" he asked.

"No, I'm not okay," Dean growled and struggled back to his feet, then arched his back with a grimace. "I've had it up to here with vengeful spirits," he added angrily. "Damned spook nearly broke my back here."

Sam took a step forward and was instantly aware of the resistance to him moving. Not that anything shoved him. He could just feel the opposition. "Dean, whatever this is, I think we should deal with it before we leave," he said and focused on his brother, trying to convey to him that he had a problem right now.

For a moment he feared that Dean didn't get the point, but then Dean nodded lightly and raised his hands in surrender to let the spook know he wasn't going to cause trouble.

Sam glanced around. "I don't know what makes you haunt this place, but we can help," he tried and gave Dean an apologetic smile.

"Yeah, we can help," Dean agreed through clenched teeth.

The ghost's only reply was to shove Dean back a step.

"Hey!" he snapped.

"Relax, Dean. It's only trying to prove a point," Sam said, not entirely sure that was the reason for the sudden aggression. "There wasn't a problem until you said we should leave. I'm assuming it doesn't want us to leave."

"What? You wanna move in here with it?" Dean countered, quite obviously annoyed right now.

Unsure of how to handle this situation at present, Sam again sent a look around the room, searching for any sort of manifestation of the ghost. But still there was none. "Could you ... uhm ... show yourself?" he tried.

Dean rolled his eyes, but remained where he was.

And still nothing happened. The air was cold enough for their breaths to become visible, but apart from that there was no immediate indication of what they were up against. Sam glanced at Dean, presently pretty uncertain of what step to take next, while Dean scanned the room visually.

"Oh, come on," Dean finally exclaimed. "What do you want, huh? Just frigging show us so we can fix it and get the hell out of here."

As if in reply to his words, which the ghost obviously took offence at, he was hammered back against the wall with enough force to break the plaster. He hit the floor with a grunt.

To hopefully avoid further attacks, Sam raised both hands, palms out. "Hey, hey, no need for this, okay? We can help you, no matter what it might be. Just ... let us know what you need us to do and we'll do it, okay?"

Dean sneered. "The only help that damned ..."

"Dean!" Sam warned, cutting him off. "Just shut up for a moment, okay?"

"You're not the one being hammered into the wall here," Dean growled and got back to his feet.

"I know, Dean, but ... just shut up for now. Let me deal with this," Sam countered, then returned his attention to the ghost, wherever it was. "Look, we really can help, okay? We've done this a million times. Just show yourself."

The air in front of Sam shimmered and he smiled vaguely, hoping to encourage the ghost to show itself, to reveal whatever issues it had so they could deal with it and get out. Before he could make any move at all, though, something akin to an invisible wrecking ball hit him square in the chest and sent him flying backwards into the corner behind his bed. He hit the floor hard and took a moment to regain his composure.

"Son of a bitch," Dean snapped and dove for the weapons bag sitting next to his duffle on the floor beside his bed. His forward momentum was stopped, though, as if he'd hit an invisibly wall and Sam was sure he heard the distinct crack of a bone breaking.

"Dean!" he yelled and struggled back to his feet.

All Dean did was suck in a breath and recoil from whatever was blocking his way from the weapons while holding his left hand with his right. "Damned bitch broke my finger," he pressed out through clenched teeth.

Apparently, the ghost didn't like being called a bitch, because that earned Dean another flying lesson. He hit the wall high and landed hard on his stomach on the floor. When he tried to get up again, cursing vehemently under his breath, something shoved him back down, pressing his face into the carpet.

"Hey!" Sam snapped, angry now, and took a step forward.

The ghost released Dean and hammered Sam back against the wall instead, squashing him into the corner with enough force to bruise his ribs. He groaned while fighting the mounting pressure, but couldn't push himself out of the corner again.

Dean made another try for the weapons bag, which again diverted the ghost away from Sam. He managed to get so far as to pull the shotgun with the salt rounds halfway out of the bag before the ghost hurled him across the room to collide painfully with the wall yet again.

A rattling sound caught Sam's attention at that point and he glanced toward the door, expecting to see the doorknob moving, because it sounded like someone jiggling it from the outside. But it wasn't the doorknob. The chrome rods rising out of the half-wall toward the ceiling were vibrating, rattling against the growing holes in the plaster that kept them in place. The first one tore free and hurled full force toward Dean.

"Dean, watch out!" Sam yelled.

Dean had just barely gotten to his feet again, but did managed to sidestep the rod hurtling towards him. But he still sucked in a breath when it obviously grazed the side of his chest before it nailed him to the wall by pinning his shirt and t-shirt. Apparently, the attack stunned him, because he looked up to meet Sam's eyes, a mixture of surprise and growing aggravation vying for control in his expression. "Son of a ..." he started, but stopped again.

***

It was the fact that this damned spook had tried to impale him that made him stop short more than anything. The burning sensation where the metal had scraped his skin was subdued by the sheer shock.

He sent a glance toward the remaining rods, then started fighting the one that now kept him pinned to the wall. And then the second rod broke loose. It was obvious at this point that the ghost B or whatever it was B had it in for him on some level. Unfortunately he had nowhere to go when the second rod hurtled towards him, but even so he somehow managed to grab it before it could seriously injure him. A quick shift to the side diverted it away from his stomach, but he couldn't move it away from his body entirely before it started slipping through his fingers.

"Shit," he yelped when the ghost upped the ante on him and shoved the damned rod through his fingers and into his side.

"Dean!" Sam made a dash toward him, but collided with a wall that hammered him back again. He landed on the floor next to his bed, but got back to his feet immediately. This time he dove over his bed and hit the floor between the beds, threw himself onto Dean's bed and reached for the weapons bag. His fingertips actually touched the shotgun before his wrist snapped backward and he yelped in pain.

Dean kept fighting the rod that was slowly but surely slicing its way through his side but his fingers were now slick with the blood oozing down the metal and he couldn't hold onto it. Breathing shallowly through gritted teeth, groaning at the pain, he glanced up to see Sam being lifted off the bed and slammed hard against the rear wall, where the ghost pinned him while the four remaining rods kept vibrating.

Another one broke free, but this time it didn't go for Dean. It was hurled straight at Sam. He moved his right arm just in time to prevent it from being nailed to the wall. Instead the rod penetrated through his shirt and t-shirt and hammered into the wall behind.

The next rod tore free just as the one drilling its way through Dean received an extra shove that embedded it in the wall behind him. "Son of a bitch," Dean pressed out through clenched teeth and tried to lean forward against the relentless pressure keeping him against the wall. But then the pressure suddenly vanished, making him jerk forward. He couldn't keep the repressed scream at bay when that caused him to slide forward on the rod embedded in his side. It also tore his t-shirt and shirt loose from the first rod. "I am so gonna roast your ass, you bitch," he snarled.

The next rod hurled toward Sam and this time he yelped in pain. Even though he had managed to move his right leg, it still caught the skin and gouged the inside of his thigh and it was becoming abundantly clear to Dean what this ghost was doing to Sam. It was pinning him to the wall, quite literally.

"Sammy, fight it," Dean pressed out, gritted his teeth, grabbed a hold of the rod sticking out of his side and yanked himself forward. The only way he could free himself was that way. He couldn't get a good enough hold on to the rod to pull it out of his side and thereby out of the wall, even though that sounded a hell of a lot more appealing than having to slide the length of it through the wound already created.

Sam tried to fight the hold on him, but he had as little luck in breaking it as Dean had. "I can't," he ground out when the next rod broke free of its anchoring and slammed into his left shin with enough force to be driven all the way through and into the wall behind.

Judging by Sam's expression, Dean was actually surprised that he didn't scream in pain. Instead he settle for clawing the fingernails of his right hand into the wall behind him while he reached for the chrome rod sticking out of his leg with his left, his cheeks a hectic red while the rest of his face paled considerably.

"Son of a bitch," Dean ground out, briefly considering the possibility that he was becoming repetitive in his choice of curses.

Sam couldn't quite reach the offensive projectile because of the demonic force holding him against the wall, and at this point Dean was convinced that this wasn't a ghost. It had to be a demon of some sort.

Sam emitted a sound that made Dean's skin crawl with sympathy. His own pain was dulled by his brother's agony and he hauled himself forward another step while a part of him wanted to mimic that sound of pain. But Sam's obvious plight was greater than his own right now and the demon or whatever it was obviously didn't give a damn about what Dean was doing right now.

And then the last rod broke free of its anchoring and somehow Dean knew where it would strike Sam before it did. There wasn't anything he could do to stop it, of course, but he still managed to haul himself another step forward while the pain from the wound in his side radiated outward and upward, sending wave upon wave of nauseating pain through him when he even thought about moving. But he had to. He had no choice.

The last rod whipped through the air and rammed into Sam's chest, driving him back against the wall as it penetrated him with a sickening slurping sound followed by a crunch. And this time Sam didn't hold back. He screamed his bloody head off as he reached for the offending rod sticking out of the left side of his chest, but the rod under his right arm stopped him short.

Even the hectic blush on his cheeks died at that point and Dean felt his heart skip a beat. "Sammy!" he yelled and yanked himself forward again.

And it was at that very moment that the demon B which turned out to be no demon at all B oozed into existence.

Dean paled at the prospect of what they were up against, but it did not slow his determination. With a snort and a repressed whimper, he finally pulled free of the rod and dropped to his knees, his right hand going to the wound. But he couldn't allow himself to give in to the pain. At this point there was no doubt in his mind that Sam's life was at stake and that the ghost of Kate Mayor wasn't going to let him die easy.

***

Violent deaths created vengeful spirits. Dean knew that one by heart, had learned it early on, but it still stunned him this time around. The thudding pain from his wound probably had a lot to do with it, but when the ghost turned its head and leered at him, her broken face an unholy mess of scratches and open flesh, it kick-started Dean into action. The ghost obviously didn't think he was a threat anymore and turned her attention back to his brother, who at this point was B quite literally B nailed to the wall.

With an effort that should have been beyond him at this point in time, he struggled unsteadily back to his feet, his left hand lightly covering the bleeding wound, and with single-minded determination, he staggered toward the weapons bag and the shotgun sticking halfway out of it. He picked the shotgun up with blood-slick hands and grunted at the effort of keeping himself upright.

The ghost flickered out of existence a second before he managed to raise the shotgun and aim it at her. "Shit," he rasped and then focused on Sam.

Obviously, Dean's immediate fear had not come true. The damned rod hadn't nicked anything vital or Sam would have bled out in the meantime. As it were, Sam was still alive and very much aware of his situation and Dean briefly contemplated how the hell he was going to get him off the wall without aggravating his injuries to the extreme. The rod sticking out of his shin was going to be very painful to remove and it would necessarily have to be the first one to go.

Slowly, he made his way toward his brother, gritting his teeth against the stab of pain rippling through him with every damned step he took. "Goddamn ghosts," he pressed out.

With sudden ferocity, the shotgun was ripped downward out of his hand, which jostled his broken little finger and drew a heavily suppressed grunt from him. Then the ghost backhanded him across the face, knocking him off his feet and onto the floor. It had taken nearly everything he had to give to get up in the first place and the prospect of having to repeat that procedure was really not very inviting. But there was Sam to consider and right now, all Dean could really focus on was to get to his brother.

He began the laboriously slow process of struggling back to his feet again, an act hindered severely by the fact that he generally couldn't sit up without wanting to scream.

By the time he had made it up on his hands and knees he was sweating by the buckets despite the downright icy temperatures in the room and that was when all hell seriously broke loose. He couldn't see the damned spook, but he could see what she was doing and it motivated him like nothing else.

One thing he would never learn to understand was how the hell people's souls got so vicious so fast after death and, more prominently, how they could develop both abilities and additions to their bodies they hadn't had in life. Granted, Kate Mayor had been a serious bitch in life and as such it didn't surprise him that much that her viciousness had carried over into the afterlife, but he couldn't for the life of him understand why people couldn't just let go and pass on. So when the ghost of Kate Mayor seriously started digging into Sam by shredding his t-shirt and tearing long gashes into his chest in the process, Dean managed to regain his feet in a sudden spur of blistering anger.

He aimed the shotgun at where he approximately figured the ghost would be and gave Sam an apologetic grimace. "Sorry, Sammy," he pressed out and pulled the trigger. The rock salt round did disperse the ghost, but it also hit Sam in the stomach. And it brought to mind an incident from a year ago when Sam, influenced by a late doctor's insane ghost, had hit him with a round of rock salt. It wouldn't kill him, but it hurt like a bitch and the last thing Sam needed right now was more pain.

Whether his brother at this point was too weak to give vent to his pain or it all just blended together into one big ache was a question Dean didn't really need an answer for. Sam didn't scream, but he did groan.

Moving as quickly as his wound allowed for, Dean grabbed the tin of salt from weapons bag and laid down a line of salt along the perimeter of the alcove where the beds were. It would seal off that area unless the ghost was inside the perimeter when he laid down the line.

Then he dropped the tin and turned back to Sam. "I'll get you down," he rasped, put the shotgun down on the bed and then eyed his brother for a moment. "This is gonna hurt," he added and took a careful hold of the rod sticking out of Sam's shin. Even that extracted a suppressed whimper from him.

Bracing himself for the pain this was going to cause Sam, not to mention the agony it would put himself through when he had to aggravate his own wound, he draped his right hand over Sam's shin just above the entry point, grabbed a hold of the rod with his left hand, counted to three and pulled. Fortunately, the wall behind Sam was neither solid brick or wood, which would have made the extraction of the rod nearly impossible in his presently weakened condition, but since it seemed to consist of mainly drywall and plaster, the rod came loose almost at once and he yanked it as fast as he could out of Sam's leg to minimize the pain. He felt the tremor going through his brother and commended him silently for not screaming his head off. That had to have hurt like hell. Fortunately, the rod had not hit the bone, but had penetrated next to it instead and there was no gushing of blood once the rod was out, which hopefully meant that nothing had been seriously damaged.

He then removed the second rod that kept Sam's right leg pinned to the wall by his jeans and then looked up at Sam. He had his eyes closed, his right hand balled into a fist and he was shivering lightly while breathing shallowly and fast. "Okay, now comes the tough one," he warned and took a moment to assess the situation and regain some strength before moving on with this seemingly impossible endeavor. He figured removing the rod sticking out of Sam's chest first and foremost might be the best solution. It had entered just below the collarbone and he assumed that the crunch he had heard earlier had been when the rod had slammed through Sam's shoulder blade. All he could hope for was that it had been fast enough and sharp enough to actually punch a hole through the shoulder blade instead of shattering it.

Dean drew in a deep breath and reached up to grab the rod.

"No," Sam pressed and tried to move to ward him off. "Don't touch it."

"If I don't, I can't get you off the damned wall, Sam," Dean countered. "I know it hurts. Just ... suck it up for a few more seconds, okay?" His own voice tapered off in a pained grunt. Talking and moving were so out of the question right now and he had no way of avoiding either.

He pulled at the rod with everything he had left to give and Sam screamed in agony. The rod didn't even move a fraction of an inch through Sam's chest, but instead came free of the wall, forcing Sam forward and twisting his shoulder.

The last rod stuck under his right arm couldn't carry his entire weight and broke out of the wall, sending Sam down on his feet which couldn't carry his weight at this point. He keeled over with another cry of pain, slammed into Dean and toppled him off his feet.

They landed on the floor in a mess of tangled limps and the impact shoved the rod further through Sam's chest, which proved to be too much for him and he passed out. Dean lay halfway in and halfway out of the protective salt line and the leering ghost of Kate Mayor stood over them. The line was broken, once again giving her access to them.

She grabbed Sam and hauled him off Dean, then threw him onto the bed on his back. He landed crookedly with the rod hitting the floor next to the bed rather than being driven back through his chest. Then she hunkered down next to Dean and stared at him with bloodshot, bruised eyes for a moment. Then she grinned, grabbed him and hurled him across the room.

He hit the wall and then the floor with a bone-jarring thud that sent a scream of unadulterated agony through him that very nearly stole his consciousness away and it took him precious seconds to regain enough composure and breath to be able to focus on what was going on.

The impact with the bed had obviously jarred Sam awake again, judging by the sounds he was making when the ghost attacked him. Dean clawed his way to his feet again, picked up the discarded shotgun the ghost had hurled out of the way and aimed it at her head. She was visible now and clawing at Sam in a way that made Dean sick to his stomach. Apparently, she was trying to repeat what she had done to him five years ago and it made it very clear to Dean that they had to put a stop to her once and for all. "You are so gonna die," he pressed out and pulled the trigger, once more dispersing her ghost and peppering Sam with rock salt.

Dean took the time it would take her to reassert herself to limp over to the bed and renew the salt line before he turned back to face Sam. Fully aware of the pain his little brother had to be in, Dean numbed himself against what lay ahead and forced Sam onto his right side, then grabbed a hold of that damned rod and yanked it out of him.

"Frigging ghost, messing with my brother," he rasped, continuously talking to himself and to Sam to keep the darkness tugging at him at bay. He needed to make sure Sam didn't bleed to death before he could get him out of here.

With a mounting effort that took his breath away and made him stagger every time he moved, he got a hold of the first aid kit, grabbed his knife and sliced through Sam's t-shirt to get to the wound. It was bleeding, but not badly. Once again he thanked whatever depraved deity was watching over them that it wasn't that bad, then he set about bandaging Sam's wounds. He finished the job before it just got too much for him. His right leg gave in beneath him and he dropped down on one knee, breathing hard. Even the thought of moving hurt and he couldn't fight the darkness for much longer

Sam, who was currently on his back and looking like he'd been in a fight with an angry cougar, focused weakly on him and tried to reach out for him.

Steadying himself against the edge of Sam's bed for a moment, Dean met his eyes and tried for a smile which he was sure didn't come out right. His field of vision narrowed more and more and eventually, he could no longer fight the tug of the darkness and gave in to it.

***